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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaparmesanIs it Parmesan or wood filler with other assorted less expensive cheese additives? (Photo: JaBB)

Before you sprinkle that bowl of rigatoni with a dusting of Parmesan cheese, you might want to reconsider.

That's because a February 16 article in BloombergBusiness warns, "Some brands promising 100 percent purity contained no Parmesan at all."

Here you were, just about to savor steaming pasta with a tasty flavoring of traditional Parmesan cheese, only to learn that the company who is supplying the cheese to your food mart is using less expensive cheeses - not to mention wood pulp - to create falsely-labeled Parmesan.

However, the issue of wood pulp in grated Parmesan cheese - and other grated and shredded cheeses - as disgusting as it may strike one, is overshadowed by the reality, mentioned above, that some cheeses labeled Parmesan don't include an iota of Parmesan.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 07:48

The Shadow of Nazism Over US Torture Policy

2016.16.2 BF Marcus(Photo: Justin Norman)JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

This essay is dedicated to Mohamedou Slahi, author of Guantánamo Diary. Slahi has been imprisoned at the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. A federal judge ordered his release in March 2010, but the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go. It is also an homage to investigative journalists.

It’s all starting to fit together for me after reading Eric Lichtblau’s The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men Like most children of the 60s, I grew up believing in the Hollywood version of wwii—that the U.S. fought Hitler’s brutal forces of fascism from spreading across the face of the earth and brought it to an end.

Check out our public schools’ history books and you’ll discover that an important part of the victory has been intentionally omitted: Russia deserved a good deal of the credit for beating back the Nazis.  Millions of Russians died fighting Hitler’s vicious war machine.  Indeed, Victory Day, May 9th, is hugely celebrated in Russia every year. However, ask most American high school students if they know the significance ofMay 7th or the 9th and predictably you’ll be met with a bunch of blank faces. Moreover, the Russians were partly responsible for having liberated victims of concentration camps.  The truth is that the partnership between the U.S. and Russia finished off Hitler’s Third Reich for good.  Like most Americans, I believed that Nazism came to an end on Victory Day, 1945.

2016.16.2 BF Buchheit(Photo: Images Money)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

It came up in the Republican debate again, the curious notion that striving for less inequality is somehow a form of "class warfare." The implication is that the richest people earned everything they have through their own initiative and hard work. But most of them have exploited an American financial system that has facilitated the transfer of our national wealth to the people who manage that wealth. 

Informed Americans understand that an economic war has been waged against the middle and lower classes. As a result, there are at least five good reasons why the tax rate on the upper classes should be much higher.

1. Massive Redistribution Has Occurred. Upward.

Total U.S. wealth increased by a stunning 60 percent since 2009, from $54 trillion to $86 trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to the richest 10% of Americans. According to the New York Times, the wealthiest Americans have formed an "income defense industry" to shelter their riches, with, "a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means." From 2003 to 2012 the average income tax rate paid by the richest 1% went down, while for the 99% it went up.

MARY ANNE HITT OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Articles reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

aaaaaaaaaaacoal62Coal use and production in the US is declining, and that is good for the planet. (Photo: Oatsy40)

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear—while the Supreme Court’s decision to put a temporary hold on the Clean Power Plan was disappointing, it won’t revive the fortunes of the coal industry, slow the transition to clean energy or cripple progress toward meeting the climate commitment the U.S. made in Paris last year.

Tuesday’s decision means the Supreme Court is temporarily pausing the Clean Power Plan from going into effect, while the courts consider the merits of the case. As that legal process unfolds, likely into 2017, something else will continue unfolding as well—the steady progress of the Sierra Club and our allies to retire coal plants and replace them with clean energy. As we outlined in a report released late last year, our strategy gives us a pathway to meet our climate targets, even as the Clean Power Plan makes its way through the courts.

Thanks to coal retirements and the rise of clean energy, U.S. carbon emissions are at their lowest level in two decades and are continuing to fall. In 2015, the U.S. got just 34 percent of our electricity from coal, the lowest level in recorded history and experts don’t see a reversal of that trend. Since 2010, we’ve won retirement of 231 coal plants that make up one-third of the U.S. coal fleet and we’re just warming up, with the goal of securing retirement of half the U.S. coal fleet no later than 2017.

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Articles reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

aaaaaaaaaaaaaacalcrops32(Photo: Spotlight California)

When most people think of California, the first images that probably come to mind are the state’s sun-soaked beaches, the Hollywood hills and the fog-drenched Golden Gate Bridge. But a new documentary web series, Spotlight California, wants to show viewers the California you don’t see on postcards.

The five-part series, hosted by actress and comedian Kiran Deol, is investigating the impact of drought, water and air pollution, and gas price gouging in California.

The goal is to “raise awareness of these issues, give voice to the Californians being directly impacted and create an opportunity for people to join together and to take positive actions in communities across the state,” explained NextGen Climate, which is funding the project.

“With this project, I want to shed some light on the powerful players who have tilted the economic tables in their favor, profiting at the expense of our families,” Tom Steyer, president of NextGen Climate, said. “But I also want to highlight stories from people working hard to balance the scales; folks who maintain a positive attitude during tough times, while making a big difference.”

ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatoxicWhat if we found the political will to reprioritize the national budget and reclaim the future? (Photo: eek the cat)

Maybe if we declared “war” on poison water, we’d find a way to invest money in its “defeat.”

David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, writing at Tom Dispatch this week about what they called “The United States of Flint,” make this point: “The price tag for replacing the lead pipes that contaminated its drinking water, thanks to the corrosive toxins found in the Flint River, is now estimated at up to $1.5 billion. No one knows where that money will come from or when it will arrive. In the meantime, the cost to the children of Flint has been and will be incalculable.”

I sit with these words: “No one knows where the money will come from.”

In the president’s latest budget proposal, $7.5 billion is earmarked to “fight ISIS,” an absurd non-threat to the nation’s survival, but no matter. We’re engaged in endless war with whoever the latest enemy happens to be and this war is endlessly funded, no questions asked. Mostly we’re engaged in war preparation, of course (and the containment of the consequences of past wars — at least the ones that can’t be ignored). As usual, the Pentagon and other war-engaged institutions will consume well over half the nation’s discretionary spending, including a $59 billion “slush fund that permits the Pentagon to break through Congress’ legislated budget caps,” according to the National Priorities Project.

2016.10.2 bf chow(Photo: Mike Mozart)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Articles reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Monsanto Co. is facing another lawsuit alleging that exposure to glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the company’s flagship product Roundup, causes cancer.

Christine and Kenneth Sheppard, the former owners of Dragon’s Lair Kona Coffee Farm in Honaunau, Hawaii, have accused the multinational agribusiness of falsely masking the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate and is responsible for causing the woman’s cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The civil suit, Sheppard et al v. Monsanto Company, was filed Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu by the Miller Firm of Orange, Virgina and Honolulu attorney Brian K. Mackintosh on behalf of the husband-and-wife duo.

2016.9.2 bf chow(Photo: prilfish)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

A turtle hospital in Marathon, Florida is treating an increasing number of green sea turtles affected by fibropapillomatosis (FP), a global sea turtle disease caused by a herpes virus. The disease leads to the formation of tumors on the turtles’ eyes, flippers and internal organs. The possible culprits? Pollution and warming waters.

In all, the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital rescue and rehab facility has admitted 93 sea turtles in 2014, 68 in 2013 and 56 in 2012, The Miami Herald reported.

“Marine turtles with FP have external tumors that may grow so large and hanging as to hamper swimming, vision, feeding and potential escape from predators,” hospital manager Bette Zirkelbach told the publication. “Over 50 percent of the green sea turtle population in and around the Florida Keys is infected with FP.”

2016.9.2 bf berkowitz2(Photo: DonkeyHotey)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Almost a year ago, Jeff Roe, the founder and principal of the Kansas City, Missouri-based Axiom Strategies, was knocking out attack ads aimed at trashing the gubernatorial candidacy of former Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich. A sixty-second radio ad "labeled Schweich as a weak candidate for governor and pointed out that his political foes would 'squash him like the little bug that he is,'” The Kansas City Star reported. The radio ad also compared Schweich to Barney Fife, the hapless fictional deputy sheriff of Mayberry, on "The Andy Griffith Show."

According to a 2011 Kansas City Star piece by Steve Kraske, Team Roe was involved with "instances of Dumpster diving when Roe's minions would sift through an opposing candidate's household garbage to find something embarrassing. There were stories about Roe employees dashing out of the nighttime shadows to snap photos for use in unflattering campaign fliers. The thing was, Roe admitted it all. 'Politics ain't beanbag,' he would say. In 2006, there were TV ads that chastised one opponent in a wheelchair for working for Penthouse magazine. In reality, she sold ads for a company that owned the magazine."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahungerfoodWhy do right wing think tanks support government subsidizing corporations with taxpayer funds? (Photo: Propaganda Times)

Right-wing think tanks are often idea factories whose finished product is the peddling of cruel and soulless public policy papers and positions. 

Consider the upcoming implementation of a federal policy that - thanks to the "improving" economy - may cut off food stamps for as many as 1 million people, according to the Associated Press:

Advocates [for the provision of food stamps] say some adults trying to find work face a host of obstacles, including criminal records, disabilities or lack of a driver's license.

The work-for-food requirements were first enacted under the 1996 welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton and sponsored by then-Rep. John Kasich, who is now Ohio's governor and a Republican candidate for president.

The provision applies to able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49 who have no children or other dependents in their home. It requires them to work, volunteer or attend education or job-training courses at least 80 hours a month to receive food aid. If they don't, their benefits are cut off after three months.

Then consider the response of a right-wing think tank to this regulation, which is now kicking in, in many states, because of lower unemployment rates.

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